Scorsese's 'Cape Fear' will be even more menacing

February 05, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- "Cape Fear" was considered strong stuff fo its suggestions of sexual violence when released in 1962. Now, the script for director Martin Scorsese's remake appears to be the blueprint for an even more lurid picture.

The original revolved around a sadistic ex-con terrorizing the man whose testimony sent him to prison for rape.

Directed by J. Lee Thompson, the film's then-shocking scenes featured Robert Mitchum as the psychopath, taunting Gregory Peck by expressing lust for Peck's wife (Polly Bergen) and their 12-year-old daughter. One notorious scene had a bare-chested Mitchum grab Bergen and spread raw egg on her chest.

The remake, now shooting for Universal Pictures, stars Robert De Niro as the ex-con, Nick Nolte as the husband and Jessica Lange as his wife. (Mitchum, Peck and Martin Balsam -- also in the original -- appear in cameos.)

A copy of the Wesley Strick script indicates that the ex-con's menace is now considerably heightened. In one scene, he warns Lange that he's going to rape her as "a warm-up exercise," then "initiate" her daughter (now 15) -- as Mom watches.

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